Ireland announces details of Deposit Return Scheme launch

The Irish government has released details of the launch of the country’s national Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

It is estimated that about 1.9 billion drinks bottles and cans are consumed each year in Ireland, in-house and ‘on the go’. The DRS aims to boost the recycling rate for these drinks containers by charging a small, refundable deposit for each plastic bottle or can. The scheme will include PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150ml and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers 500ml or less and a deposit of 25c for each container above 500ml.

The scheme will be operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland CLG, trading as Re-turn, who minister Ossian Smyth appointed in July 2022.

All producers and retailers are legally obliged to register with Re-turn. Registration is open now at www.re-turn.ie.

Launching the Scheme, minister Smyth said: “The Deposit and Return Scheme is an exciting new, circular initiative which will transform the way we think about empty drinks bottles and cans. The refundable deposit will incentivise us to return these containers so producers can make new bottles out of old bottles and new cans out of old cans, saving materials, energy and reducing litter. The scheme is a massive undertaking for producers and retailers and Re-turn, the producer-led company, who have shown great commitment and leadership in coming together to develop it.”

Minister Smyth was joined at the launch by Tony Keohane, chair of DRS Ireland. Keohane said: “We are delighted to launch the first phase of the new Deposit Return Scheme in Ireland and we are calling on all producers and retailers to register online today at www.re-turn.ie. Under the Single Use Plastics Directive, Ireland must ensure the separate collection of 77% of plastic beverage bottles placed on the market by 2025, rising to 90% in 2029. Deposit return schemes are a proven success in over 40 other jurisdictions around the world, including 12 in Europe, and will help us reach our recycling targets. We look forward to continued collaboration with producers and retailers in establishing a Deposit Return Scheme that delivers significant environmental benefits for everyone.”

The department will work closely with Re-turn on the implementation of the Scheme, which will start immediately with the registration of producers and retailers. The planned ‘go-live’ date for consumers is February 2024.

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